A federal court in Nigeria warned all parties involved in 9mobile’s sale to heed an order it made in 2018 barring them from taking any action, after aggrieved shareholders made a fresh complaint, local media reported.

In August 2018 it was reported the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approved the sale of the troubled operator.

This was followed by news Teleology Holdings (which acquired a 13 per cent stake in Teleology Nigeria, a consortium that invested in 9mobile) may withdraw from the deal, claiming a turnaround plan it had worked on was blocked by management.

While this was going on, shareholders Afdin Ventures and Dirbia Nigeria went to court, stating they want a refund of their investment of around $43 million for being excluded from the decision-making process of the sale.

This led to the court’s decision in October 2018 that no action would be taken around the sale while their case was pending.

Now they have filed new documents in court showing that a transfer of ownership to a set of buyers took place after the court’s order was made.

Nigerian newspaper The Guardian reported the court has now stated: “Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in the order of the Federal High Court number three, Abuja, made on the 10th of October 2018 ordering parties to maintain status quo, with regard to the sale of Etisalat Nigeria Limited [9mobile], you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”

The defendants include Karington Telecommunications, Premium Telecommunications Holdings and the First Bank of Nigeria along with CBN and NCC.